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March 27, 2010

 

Offensive power key for Trojans

By TOM VARTANIAN
Staff Writer

The offensive firepower is there while the growth for Homer Central boys this spring will come with a younger defensive unit.
All that has been fine-tuned during pre-season workouts as the Trojans approach their 2010 lacrosse season opener Monday as Tully comes to George W. Butts Field for a 7:15 p.m. non-league face-off.
“We have had a good pre-season,” says Tom Cottrell, who begins his 10th year as Trojans’ head coach. “The guys are working hard and are certainly a very coachable group.
“We are fairly experienced, so we were excited about getting them into game situations,” he continued. “We have had five scrimmages. It was nice to have some good weather to be outside. Of course, so many other teams now have turf fields that we don’t have that advantage anymore. It’s still nice to work on a full-sized field more during pre-season.”
One hole that Homer (12-8 in 2009) will be filling this season is in goal. Paul Zimmerman has graduated and is now at the United State Naval Academy after being a two-year starter, but Cottrell has two youngsters eager to step in. Junior keeper Nick Larue and sophomore Zach Williams both move up from a JV squad that went 10-5 in 2009.
Larue saw a lot of minutes, recording over 150 saves, while Williams also spent time between the JV pipes.
“Nick is the most experienced of the two,” Cottrell said. I will be looking for him to step up.
“Zach has played the position,” he added. “He keeps getting better every day. I expect a healthy competition between the two for playing time.”
The defensive unit also saw a handful of talented players graduated, but there is some experience returning.
“We are relatively young, but we have what we need to be a good unit,” Cottrell stated.
Heading the returnees is senior Ryan Murray along with classmates John McCall, Christopher McGee and Carter O’Gorman.
Moving up from the JV ranks are juniors Cody Sandy, Joe Marchetti, Brent Fox and Taeho Ryu, along with sophomore Anthony Contento.
It will mark a position change for Ryu, who scored 19 goals and added 15 assists last year for the JV Trojans.
He joins Sandy as long-stick defensive options.
“Ryan will be our rock,” Cottrell said. “He has the experience. Cody and Joe are very talented players. John, Christopher, Carter, Brent and Anthony give us some depth.
“Taeho is a good offensive player,” he continued. “He wanted a change and tried a long stick. He really likes the position now.”
The experience becomes more evident when you reach the midfield as seniors Aaron Darr and Luke Pedersen join junior Connor Ferrito has main scoring threats, along with senior attackman Carl Zimmerman. Darr scored 63 points in 2009 with 56 goals and seven assists.
Ferrito added 39 points (19g-20a) while Pedersen totaled 16 points (11g-5a). Darr is just three points away from 100 for his career with 84 goals and 13 assists.
Also returning at midfield are seniors Jaydon Kiernan (3g), Nate Crawford and Kyle Davis (3g) while junior Logan Hall (7g-3a) plus sophomores Conner Johnston (17g), Aaron Zimmerman (17g-12a) and Dyson Sprouse (10g-7a) move up from the JV ranks.
Ferrito, Pedersen, Crawford, Zimmerman and Johnston have been working on face-offs.
“We have good experience returning with our seniors,” Cottrell said. “These guys coming up love the game. They are all working very hard and pushing the veterans for playing time. I am pleased with the guys efforts on face-offs.”
Zimmerman was the leading scorer in 2009 with 60 goals and 29 assists for 89 points.
The senior sharpshooter is fifth on the all-time scoring list with 186 points on 133 goals and 53 assists.
Zimmerman is just three points behind Jake Plunket (1998-2001, 189 points) and 28 behind Mike Dugan (2003-2006, 214 points).
Matt Riter (1986-89) is the all-time leading scorer in Homer history with 264 points while current Trojan volunteer assistant coach Matt Cutia (1993-95) is number two with 250 points.
Zimmerman isn’t the only attackman who can score. Returning senior John Sciera and junior Hunter Osborne who moves up from the JV team can also put the ball into the net. Sciera scored 17 goals and dished out 12 assist in 2009 while Osborne scored 32 goals and added 15 assists at the junior level.
Cottrell has also hoping one more scorer may be available late in the season as junior attackman Zach Hatfield would join the varsity ranks after scoring 30 JV goals in 2009 with 16 assists.
Hatfield is rehabbing his shoulder that saw surgery during the later part of the basketball season.
“We have the guys up front who can put the ball in the goal with Carl and John,” Cottrell stated. Hunter is going to be a very good addition and Zach really hopes that he can contribute at some point this season, but that will remain to be seen. I’m sure if he will be ready.”
After spending one season in Class C for the regular season in Division II, Homer returns to OHSL Class B competition for the 2010 regular season.
The Trojans will compete in Class C in sectionals. Homer will face Cortland High, East Syracuse-Minoa, Fulton, Jamesville-DeWitt, New Hartford and Whitesboro in home-and-home series for 12 league contests. Non-league foes include Tully, Marcellus, LaFayette and South Jefferson, all possible sectional opponents.
“Jamesville-DeWitt should be the favorite again,” Cottrell stated. “ ES-M and New Hartford are solid while Cortland, Fulton and Whitesboro are always tough. Our goal is to do our best and get ourselves ready for sectionals.”
Cottrell does have a veteran staff returning to help prepare the Trojans. Mark Ferrito returns as an assistant coach.
As previously mentioned, Cutia is one of the volunteer assistants along with Dave Basile and Rich Cecconi. Nick Patriaco is the JV head coach with Chris Moore his assistant.
Dan Bradshaw is a JV volunteer assistant while Rich Barnes will coach the modified team.
After Monday’s season opener, Homer will host Fulton Thursday at 7:15 p.m. in the Class B opener.
The homestand concludes April 3 with a non-league clash against visiting Marcellus at 1:15 p.m. on Butts Field.